I saw two computer animations in my Digital New Media class that really blew my mind the other day. The first I saw was a animated short called Bingo. The animation was actually based off a skit that the Neo-Futurists did in Chicago, which I thought was very odd since the Neo-futurists are very um... off-beat. I've seen them both in Chicago and New York and if you're ever in one of those cities you REALLY should check them out; they are a lot of fun. They attempt to do 30 original plays (more like skits) in 60 minutes. It's awesome.
Bingo, an animation made by Chris Landreth, takes the skit and beautifully animates it, really capturing the strangeness of Bingo the clown, and the Neo-futurist attitude of being deep and whacky at the same time. I'm not an animator but, one has to marvel at the level of detail in the character's faces. The characters look and act so real (even though it's clearly fantasy). One look at this video and there can be no doubt that digital animation can be art.
If you thought the above video was crazy, wait until you see the next one called Ryan, also made by Chris Landreth. Ryan is another off-center animation piece that looks back on the life of a famous digital new media artist named Ryan Larkin. Ryan Larkin was most known for making an animated short called Walking, which is briefly shown in Ryan. Ryan Larkin was influential in making digital art an accepted art form, and once you see the video biography, you'll see why.
Ryan isn't a straight up documentry however. Landreth himself is a fantastic animator and he animates his conversations with Ryan, which if heard alone without the animation, would be pretty intense. The deterioration of their faces though, covered with other digital animation is not only creative, it's trippy. Ryan's story admittedly is sad since he fell to drug and alcohol abuse and passed away pretty recently in 2007. However, the success of Ryan has kept his legacy alive and now tons of people are aware of his outstanding work. Ryan is shown below.
Most of the poeple who read this blog are gamers. And as a gamer, I have a question for you. Would you like to see this style of animation in your video games? Graphically, it may be hard to render but one has to consider how beautiful an adventure game would be in a Landreth style.